Granada vs. Barcelona: Major Takeaways from La Liga Contest

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIFebruary 17, 2013

GRANADA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 16:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his team-mates after scoring his team's second goal during the La Liga match between Granada CF and FC Barcelona at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on February 16, 2013 in Granada, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona came from behind to beat lowly Granada 2-1 in La Liga this weekend, with the magical mastery of Lionel Messi once again proving the difference.

The Argentinian wizard netted both goals after half time to give the Blaugrana the three points that keeps their huge lead on top of the La Liga table in tact—seemingly confirming the world football powerhouse to be the domestic champions in 2013.

Granada were strong at home and perhaps deserved more than they finished with on the night, but it was the dominance of Messi and Barcelona to continue to fight even when things weren't going their way that proved to be the difference in this one.

What else did we take away from Barca's 2-1 victory? Read on and find out some of the other major talking points to emerge out out of this weekend's match.


Granada strong under Lucas Alcaraz


Lucas Alcaraz took over Granada three matches ago, and since then has seemingly turned the club around into a very strong and competitive position.

They won the first two and almost pulled off an upset here, to give the new manager a very strong start to his managing record at his new club. 

They might have fallen at the final hurdle here against Barcelona, but to net the opening goal and hold out the visitors for the entire first half is an achievement that few teams can boast about this year—especially given their current league position.

Alcaraz has found a way to get the best out of his players in the three matches he's had in charge, and has this team poised for great things in the rest of 2013.

They'll be much tougher to break down than we had originally expected, and could well prove to be a problem-team for those in the hunt for a top-four finish.


Lionel Messi confirms his greatness once more


It wasn't like we already weren't sure of it, but with his 300th and 301st career goals for Barcelona, Messi once again showed how important he is to this team and just how great he is in the scope of footballers around the globe.

Scoring two goals in a 5-0 drubbing is one thing; Messi proved here once more that he can be Barca's go-to guy with key goals at pivotal moments here.

His second, in particular, showed just how much his game has evolved over the years, and how strong he is right across the football pitch at the moment. A wonderful free kick to add to the dynamic finish he'd pounced upon earlier in the match had brought Barcelona back from the brink of an upset and into the winners circle once more—something he has become just so skilled at this season.

Messi has now scored in 14 consecutive matches for Barcleona, though few have been as important as his brace against Granada was this weekend.


Move over La Liga, we're gunning for the Champions League


With Wednesday's fixture against AC Milan in the Champions League upcoming, Barcelona opted to rest a number of players from their squad this weekend.

Andrés Iniesta and Carles Puyol were left out, while Xavi and David Villa were deemed unavailable for selection here—giving Barcelona a significantly different starting side to the one that they will line up against the Italian giants during the week.

And what it showed was a couple of things. The most notable of which being that Barca are firmly focused on the Champions League title, not La Liga.

Given their huge lead over Atletico Madrid (15 points at the time of writing), Barca know that they have that title all but wrapped up in 2013. Thus they can rest players and focus their attention solely on achieving greatness in Europe this season—something they did not manage to do last season.

Though, having said that, you wonder what it would take for Messi to earn himself a break in the domestic competition—especially as the European tournament wears on. If he doesn't get a rest against Granada, then who will he ever manage to find a break against?

Either way, Barca are just grateful that they did choose to play him this week, and that the wizard once again provided some magical mastery on the field.

Now they can solely focus on Milan and doing to them what they did here.


What did you takeaway from Barcelona's come-from-behind victory?

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